AMES — Iowa State’s defense made Texas’ offense one-dimensional in Saturday’s 23-21 victory.
A week after rushing for more than 200 yards, Iowa State (6-4, 4-3) held Texas (6-4, 4-3) to just 54 yards rushing.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who averages 42 yards rushing per game had just 27 — and he was the Longhorns’ leading rusher.
“I think when Texas plays really well, they have the ability to run the ball and pass the ball,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I thought our defense aligned and our linebackers did a really good job of really taking advantage of some opportunities to be successful against the running game. I think that’s kind of what happened early.”
Iowa State held Texas to 59 yards of total offense in the first half until Texas’ 75-yard drive to score a touchdown right before the half.
“That’s a really good quarterback and I said that this week,” Campbell said. “I think he’s one of the best in the country. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and he did a great job coming back and battling and you’ve just got to keep playing.”
Overall, Iowa State forced seven three-and-outs in the game — including the one to set up the offense’s last drive and Connor Assalley’s game-winning kick.
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“In the first half, the defense was lights out,” said safety Lawrence White, who led the Cyclones with 10 tackles. “In previous games we’ve been getting out to rough starts. We did a great job today of eliminating the big plays and getting off the field on third down.
“Everybody on defense was aware of the situation in the fourth quarter. We just had to continue to play how we were playing all game and give the ball back to our offense. We got the job done and put it back in our offense’s hands.”
How Purdy found Jones
On the first play of the second half, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was pressured and rolled outside to avoid the sack.
When he got out there, on the run, he went through his progressions trying to find someone open.
“It was a broken play and when I was rolling out I was looking for the first person open,” Purdy said. “The first couple guys I saw were covered. Then I peaked just down field and I saw a hand up. I threw it and I knew he was wide open.”
A Texas player wasn’t within 20 yards of Iowa State receiver Deshaunte Jones, who went 75 yards for a touchdown.
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“He made a great play,” Purdy said. He does a great job at practice when we do scramble drills of being there and it paid off today.”
It wasn’t how Campbell drew it up, but he liked the results.
“Doesn’t that exemplify Purdy perfectly?” Campbell said. “I’d love to sell you that we dialed it up that way — maybe I should and make us look smarter. Purdy escaped the pocket, Jones was the last option and Purdy just keeps playing. Deshaunte made a great play and finished the play but it’s totally Brock Purdy. The spin move he makes to get out of the tackle was incredible. He’s a really special football player.”
Iowa State is bowl eligible
For the third straight year, Iowa State is bowl eligible.
In past years, this would have been the lead note of this notebook, but Campbell has gotten Iowa State to a position where it’s become an expectation.
“It’s giving consistency to who we want to be and where we’re trying to go here,” Campbell said. “I think that’s the thing I really appreciate about where we’re starting to get to in this program. I think we can all step back and say where we’ve been and where we’re going and maybe where we’re at right now. I don’t know if we’ve ever been healthier in our football program than we are right now. And saying that, there’s still so much work to be done.
“I’m really happy for this senior class. Certainly really happy for the leadership in this program, and certainly (there are) challenges ahead of us. Great opponents coming; teams that want to win and be successful, so we’re going to see if we can really put a stamp on our legacy here in the last 14 days that we get a guaranteed chance to be together before we get ourselves into postseason play.”
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